What’s the difference between cannabis for medical, recreational, and wellness purposes?


Canada has turned over a new leaf, and recreational cannabis is legally available across the country, many are taking interest in the different motivations for cannabis use.

What are the similarities, and differences between medical, recreational, and wellness cannabis?

This is one of the many matters Neptune explores as we deliver on our mission of leveraging our scientific and innovative expertise to create and provide our global customers with the best nutritional products and wellness solutions.

What is medical cannabis?

Since October 17th, medical cannabis falls under the Cannabis Act and its Regulations, just as recereational cannabis does. However, it involves access to cannabis through one of Canada’s over 130+ Licenced Producers (LPs) on a doctor’s recommendation. The medical cannabis program is still alive and well in Canada in parallel with the framework for recreational legalization.

For now, many specialists consider the medical cannabis program for Canada as an excellent option for people looking to use cannabis to treat medical conditions under the supervision of a doctor, and some medical insurance companies are even covering medical cannabis. Many even envision that medical cannabis will soon be available through pharmacies across the country.

The recreational market

People use cannabis recreationally for many different reasons. Certain people choose sativa, or sativa-dominant hybrid for energy for example, while others will choose an indica or an indica-dominant hybrid to relax, with one out of four Canadians believing that is healthier to consume cannabis over alcohol 1.

As the Canadian recreational market develops, we are seeing tastes of what could become of recreational cannabis as alcohol and tobacco industries eye the recreational cannabis market. With edibles soon to be legal in the Canadian market, beverage and food companies are moving into cannabis, recognizing the interest and potential demand for infused beverages and foods, once legal.

How is cannabis used for wellness?

A strong phenomenon is emerging within cannabis users wherein cannabis is not used medicinally or recreationally per se, but rather for wellness and overall health.

In ways, using cannabis for wellness purposes is a subset of recreational cannabis, where cannabis may be purchased through legal recreational stores, but is intended for more therapeutic reasons.

For instance, some use lower-potency THC strains to promote relaxation. Others may find combining THC and CBD to be effective for various intents instead of taking over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs.

CBD or cannabidiol is growing in popularity as more discover its potential effect on anxiety and other common issues when seeking prescription medication is not a preferred route.

Athletes and fitness buffs have also emerged in support of cannabis, which can be taken for preventative reasons, and to promote the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Those interested in using cannabis for wellness purposes should always follow their doctor’s advice on the approach to their health and wellness and the role cannabis plays in it.

What does it come down to?

For whatever reason an individual chooses to use cannabis, it all comes down to personal intent.

The key to cannabis use is being mindful with your intentions, consuming at levels that will help you get your desired effect and taking the necessary precautions.

  • 1. BDS Consumer survey – Public Attidues and Actions Toward Cannabis in Canada, Q1 2018